The Rhinns of Kells stretch from Meikle Millyea northwards along some of the finest hill country in southern Scotland. This walk is a considerable undertaking and should only be attempted by fit and competent walkers. The route begins at Forest Lodge road end. That’s just less than 20 miles from Moniaive on winding roads to the Forest car park but this outing more than compensates for the torturous journey.
Inside the gate of the lodge near the car park there is an interesting and colourful relic of World War 11. It is the vibrantly painted figurehead of a highlander from the vessel Black Watch. That ship plied between Britain and Norway until the outbreak of the war. The Germans took control of the ship when they invaded Norway and the Fleet Air Arm then sank it in a Norwegian fiord along with its sister ship. The owner of Galloway’s Forest Estate was the shipping magnate Fred Olsen and when the ship was salvaged the highlander was returned to him. He eventually decided to give it a suitable Scottish home in bonnie Galloway.
Having viewed the figurehead take the track that goes up past Burnhead above McAdam’s Burn till you come out of the forestry. Then follow the dyke that climbs steeply over Meikle Lump to Meikle Millyea. Take you time here, as this is some of the steepest climbing of the whole route. The vista unfolds as you reach the summit with much of the Glenkens spread out below you. Enjoy the view for its one of the finest in all of Galloway.
This is one of the classic mountain walks of Dumfries and Galloway. Follow the ridge down to the Lochans of Auchniebut and walk along the ridge with airy cliffs falling away towards Loch Dungeon. Milldown and Millfire are two tops on the ridge with very little height gain in between.
Between Millfire and Corserine is where the old pony path snaked between Backhill of Bush and the outside world. Even the dead had to be carried out on that mountain trail. On one occasion a coffin had to be abandoned on the ridge in a blizzard and it was several days before they could proceed with the burial march.
Corserine the highest hill on this whole ridge is one of the premier hills of Galloway and it affords fine panoramic views in all directions. It was the scene of several tragic air crashes around the time of World War II. The young fliers just ran out of air space and came to grief on the rugged slopes of this fine mountain. Follow over North Gairy Top and down steeply through a firebreak to Loch Harrow on the descent. Then take the track by Fore Bush back to Forest Lodge.
Distance – 10 miles. Ascent – 3157 feet. OS Landranger no: 77